IT BROUGHT US the jump cut, presaging MTV's hyperactive camera edits, and helped to usher in a whole "new wave" in cinematic cool. Low on budget and high on style, "Breathless," directed by Jean-Luc Godard and starring Jean-Paul Belmondo as a cop-shooting hood on the run and Jean Seberg as his American lover, broke all kinds of movie rules back in the day, the day being 1960: Godard shot with a hand-held camera and fed his actors their lines as he filmed them, the better, apparently, to paint everything with an in-the-moment sheen. It's at the National Gallery today, part of a retrospective on all things Godard.

-- Teresa Wiltz

At the National Gallery of Art auditorium, Fourth Street at Constitution Avenue NW. Today at 4 p.m. Free. Call 202-842-6799 or visit


THERE ARE FEW hotter young sopranos than Measha Brueggergosman, what with her new recording on Naxos and a Washington debut recital this afternoon, presented under the auspices of the Vocal Arts Society. Much of her career has been spent in her native Canada, but lately she has sung the Verdi Requiem in London's Royal Albert Hall, Strauss's "Four Last Songs" with the Munich Symphony Orchestra, and appeared in a command performance for Queen Elizabeth II -- exciting accomplishments for an artist still in her mid-twenties. Today's program includes works by Copland, Britten, Ravel and William Bolcom -- with any luck, the encores will include Brueggergosman's matchless "Summertime."

-- Tim Page

At the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, today at 2 p.m. $35. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


WHEN PAINTER ALEX KATZ launched his career in the 1960s, abstraction was the order of the day. So he made figurative pictures. They were as big and bright and impressive as the giant abstract paintings that were all around them -- but had the bonus of also speaking to our natural interest in human faces and bodies. And while 1960s abstraction now feels like ancient art history, Katz is still a force in the contemporary world. He often shows with artists half his age. Katz will be looking back at his career and the range of his art in a lecture tomorrow at the Corcoran.

-- Blake Gopnik

At the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW. Monday at 7 p.m. Members $20, non-members $25. Call 202-639-1700 or visit


ONCE UPON A TIME, "The Nutcracker" was a Christmas tradition. In recent years, however, its familiar Tchaikovsky tunes have started sounding around Thanksgiving. Actually, the day before Thanksgiving is when we'll have the first Sugarplum Fairy in our midst: The Joffrey Ballet brings its handsome Victorian-era production of the ballet back to the Kennedy Center, where it last performed "The Nutcracker" in 1997.

-- Sarah Kaufman

At the Kennedy Center Opera House. Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Friday through Sunday at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. $29-$99. Call 202-467-4600 or visit